How do you implement business process automation?

In the book ‘Fundamentals of Business Process Management’ (by Hajo A. Reijers, Marlon Dumas, Marcello La Rosa, Jan Mendling), the definition of ‘Business Process Management’ is given as “the art and science of overseeing how work is performed in an organization to ensure consistent outcomes and to take advantage of improvement opportunities.”

Every organization—be it a governmental body, a non-profit organization, or an enterprise—has to manage a number of processes. It is evident that Business Process Automation is essential for operational growth. It’s an important part of your organization’s Digital Transformation strategy.

In this article, let’s discuss the 3 different business Process Automation approaches to automate your organizational business processes.

But before that, there’s one step that is common and which needs to be done irrespective of the approach.

Designing the Process Model:
Common to all the approaches

You need to study your processes and come up with a conceptual process model. This is done by the domain experts, usually a business analyst. These process models are easily understood by the process owners and other stake holders. It also provides a base for communication between stake holders. Usually BPMN (Business Process Model & Notation) is used to design the process model.

How to implement Business Process Automation:
3 BPA Methodologies

Once the process model is designed, next comes the automation part. Let’s now discuss How to implement Business Process Automation with 3 different business Process Automation methodologies. They are,

  1. Use of traditional software development methods
  2. Process automation with a BPMS (Business Process Management System) 
  3. Use a SaaS based New Age Business Process Management System (Workflow Automation Software)

1. Use of traditional software development methods

Develop and configure a customized IT system that try to match the process model your team developed earlier. This IT system should consist of assigning tasks to process participants, helping process participants to prioritize their work, providing process participants with the information they need to perform a task, and performing automated crosschecks and other automated tasks where possible.

However, developing a dedicated IT system from the scratch to implement business process automation could be complicated, very costly and take a lot of time. Most importantly It may not adhere to the BPM processes, especially if the IT system developer is unfamiliar with BPM.

2. Go with a BPMS (Business Process Management System) and an ‘Executable Process Model’

Note the phrase ‘Executable Process Model’. Conceptual process model (usually done by a business analyst) may contain areas that need not necessarily be automated. Also, that cannot be directly fed to a BPMS.

This is where the ‘Executable Process Model’ comes in. This step requires persons with IT knowledge. A system analyst may come up with an intermediary process model with the areas that needs to be automated. Thereafter, a developer can convert or create the model(Executable Process Model) with necessary details which can be fed to a BPMS. These implementation details include, process variables, messages, tasks, code snippets for script tasks, errors, etc.

There are bunch of BPMSs available in the market. They include, IBM BPM, BizAgi BPM Suite and OpenText BPM.

The main advantage of these tools is that they follow BPM principles. Executable process model is fed to these systems. However, the main two disadvantages of this approach are,

  1. Complex to use and require specialized IT knowledge
  2. Above mentioned BPMSs are expensive and mostly available for large scale enterprises only.

3. Use a SaaS based New Age Business Process Management System (Workflow Automation Software)

These systems do not require a complex executable process model like with BPM Systems. Instead, a non-IT person such as a business analyst can automate business processes with these platforms. These platforms hide the BPMS complexities from the process creators and present a simple workflow-based approach to automate processes. They include many of the BPMS features presented in a more intuitive way.

WorkHub24 is a Workflow Process Automation Platform available in the cloud. It’s simple, intuitive and fast’. WorkHub24 provides an easy way for organizations to create workflows to model the processes defined in the conceptual process models. A key advantage is that, you do not need IT specialist to implement business process automation (by creating process workflows) as work is all visual and most importantly it’s a NO CODE platform.

Click here to learn more about WorkHub24